Sunday Poetry – The Nature of Love

I haven’t been able to find out very much at all about this week’s poet, Alexander Scott. He lived near Edinburgh in the 16th century, there are about 35 poems attributed to him, including this one, A Rondel of Luve, & that’s about it. I couldn’t find a picture of him so I’ve chosen a painting by one of my favourite Scottish artists, Sir Henry Raeburn. The period is wrong but I like this portrait of Mr & Mrs Robert Campbell of Kailzie (from here). They look happy & contented as they walk through the grounds of their home. Although Scott is pretty gloomy on the prospects for happiness in love, I think the Campbells may have achieved his ideal – to lufe and be wyiss.

Lo! what it is to lufe,
Lerne ye, that list to prufe,
Be me, I say, that no wayis may
The grund of greif remufe,
Bot still decay, both nycht and day:
Lo! what it is to lufe.


Lufe is ane fervent fyre,
Kendillit without desyre:
Schort plesour, lang displesour;
Repentence is the hyre;
Ane pure tressour without mesour:
Lufe is ane fervent fyre.

To lufe and to be wyiss,
To rege with gud advyiss,
Now thus, now than, so gois the game,
Incertane is the dyiss:
Thair is no man, I say, that can
Both lufe and to be wyiss.


Flee alwayis frome the snair;
Lerne at me to be ware;
It is pane and dowbill trane
Of endless wo and cair;
For to refrane that denger plane,
Flee alwayis frome the snair.

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